Immigration to B.C. down, homeownership stable, Aboriginal population growing

October 25, 2017

By Stephanie Ip, Vancouver Sun |

The latest set of data from the 2016 Census has been released.

Topics covered by the Wednesday release include immigration and ethnocultural diversity, housing, and Aboriginal Peoples. Here are a few quick highlights from the most recent Statistics Canada information.

Nearly record percentage of landed immigrants

According to the 2016 Census data, 21.9 per cent of Canada’s population are landed immigrants or permanent residents. That figure is nearly on par with the 1921 Census, when 22.3 per cent of the country’s population was recorded as immigrants. The 1921 percentage was the highest level since Confederation.

In total, 1.2 million new immigrants permanently settled in Canada between 2011 and 2016. These newly arrived immigrants made up 3.5 per cent of Canada’s population in 2016.

Immigrants to British Columbia have decreased

While Vancouver is still among the top three cities where more than half of all immigrants choose to live, many more are settling in the Prairies and Atlantic provinces. In the last 15 years, the numbers of recent immigrants to the Prairies has more than doubled.

As a result, the percentage of immigrants to British Columbia has fallen in the last 15 years, from 19.9 per cent in 2001 to 14.5 per cent in 2016. A total of 40.8 per cent of Vancouver’s population is represented by immigrants.

Home ownership has been stable since 2006

In the period between 1991 and 2006, homeownership grew from 62.6 per cent to 68.4 per cent. Since 2006, however, the rate of homeownership has remained stable, increasing only slightly to 69 per cent in 2011. In 2016, the homeownership rate fell to 67.8 per cent.

The Census data notes that the growth prior to 2006 was largely due to baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1965, who were buying homes. Future rates of home ownership will be determined by how long baby boomers hang on to their property and whether younger generations find it feasible to own.

In B.C., home ownership rates have dropped in recent years. The 2016 data shows Vancouver’s home ownership rate as being 63.7 per cent, below the national average.

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